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Polestar reveals first vehicle, the Polestar 1

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Volvo’s offshoot performance brand Polestar have just lifted the covers off their first high-performance hybrid electric vehicle, the Polestar 1.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, the Polestar 1 will see Volvo join the electric vehicle battle. Alongside other European luxury brands like Jaguar, Polestar is charging up to compete against current electric vehicle leader Tesla with an onslaught of EVs over the next few years.

Starting with the Polestar 1, the 600-horsepower (yes, 600) sports car features a hybrid drivetrain. It has two electric motors that power the rear wheels and a combustion engine that drives the front. The electric motors are good for 218 hp (160kw) and 354 pound-feet (480 Nm) of torque while the in-line 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine powers the front wheels. Combined, it provides the Polestar 1 with 600 horses worth of power.

Netflix and Drive

The car’s sleek, two-door sports coupe look makes it a winner on the surface, but Polestar is promising more than just good looks and performance. The sports car will be one of the first offered on a subscription basis to consumers, available on a 2 or 3 year term. Those subscribing to the service will receive a host of benefits including on-demand services like pick-up and delivery,  while having insurance and maintenance covered. Polestar have said the monthly fee option aims to take;

“the traditional hassle out of vehicle ownership and allows the customer to focus on the enjoyment of driving.”

You can of course, purchase the 1 outright if you choose to do so.

Pole Position

While Polestar have not announced prices for an outright purchase or a subscription fee as of yet, those interested in getting their hands on a Polestar 1 can start pre-ordering the car from the 13 of March with a refundable USD$3000 deposit.

Production is set to begin mid 2019 at Volvo’s new Polestar Production Centre in China. For the initial launch, the 1 will be available in six markets; China, the US, Sweden, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands, with 12 additional markets (including Canada and the UK) to follow after.

The 1 is the first of 3 new vehicles promised by the Swedish automaker. Following the 1, we can expect a Model 3 battling mid-sized Polestar 2, followed by a larger, SUV-sized Polestar 3 over the next few years.

While the 2 and 3 seem to be taking the more practical route, it is fantastic to see that Polestar is being aggressive at launch with a car that is both aesthetically appealing and performance minded. It is distinctly better looking than a Model S (no need to compare it to a Model 3), and has an interior fitting of the Volvo name.

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Rare Ferrari GTO sells for record $70 million

How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams?

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How much money would you pay for the car of your dreams? What about a one-of-a-kind beauty that you see driving past your prestige dealer? How about a rare 1963 Ferrari GTO?

If you are Dave MacNeil, the answer to the latter, is USD $70 million. MacNeil, who is the CEO of automotive weather guard company WeatherTech, shelled out the record amount for a rare Ferrari.

It is no ordinary rare Ferrari of course. While already limited to 39 builds, this particular one, chassis number 4153 GT, is special. The car won the 1964 Tour de France motor race and finished fourth at Le Mans in 1963.

Records Broken

The $70 million paid by MacNeil eclipses the previous record for the Ferrari GTO. In 2013, a GTO was sold for a then record $53 million.

The Ferrari GTO is powered by a 3.0-litre V12 engine and is one of only 39 built between 1962-1964.

MacNeil joins an exclusive group of GTO owners that include Ralph Lauren and Walmart heir Rob Walton.

How much is too much?

When you are in the same tax bracket as the Ralph Laurens and Walmarts of the world, perhaps there really isn’t a price that is too much for a prized automobile. It is truly rarefied air when the cars in your collection exceed seven digits a piece. For the rest of us, it seems utterly ridiculous of course. Collectors however, do see the worth of these incredibly rare vehicles.

How would you rather spend $70 million? I would definitely buy an expensive sports car, but one for considerably less.

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Camaro coming to Australia as an automatic only

The Chevrolet Camaro is officially coming to Australia this year as an import from Holden Special Vehicles. Excitement may have been tempered slightly with its expected high price, and its auto-only option.

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With the demise of local manufacturing, Australian buyers looking for grunt outside of expensive European options have flocked to the Ford Mustang. Almost 10,000 ‘Stangs were sold last year, which is enough proof that, while Australians don’t make affordable muscle cars anymore, they still want to buy them.

Holden, without a flagship V8 for the first time in decades, is turning to its parent company GM for a much needed boost. Holden’s performance arm, Holden Special Vehicles, announced earlier that the Chevy Camaro, in its 2SS trim, will be made available this year.

Good News and Bad News

That’s definitely the good news portion of it. While the thrill of locally made, hotted-up Commodores have been put to bed, the Camaro is more than a worthy successor. HSV have announced the specs for the 2SS for Australia, proving that it’ll pack quite the punch to satisfy the cravings of auto enthusiasts and muscle car fans.

The Australian 2SS Camaros will come with a 6.2-litre Gen 5 LT1 V8, packing 454hp (339kW) and 455 ft-lb of torque (617Nm). It will have Brembo brakes, a bi-modal exhaust, tons of technology and a variety of colour options.

So what is bad news here? Well, the Camaros have started arriving in Australia in your factory standard left-hand drive version. They are being converted to right-hand drive by HSV, which will add a hefty bump to the price tag. While no official numbers have been released just yet, speculation is that the price will come in around USD$60,400 (AUD$80,000). That’s almost $20k more than made-for-Australia Mustangs. HSV says they will be looking to keep numbers at 1,000 units a year, well below that of Ford’s current Mustang sales.

Another sticking point for performance enthusiasts is that the Australian Camaros will be available with an automatic transmission only. I know that probably stings, so I’ll let that sink in for a moment. Equipped with paddle shifters, it’ll be mated to an 8-speed auto transmission, which means the Camaro will be based on the outgoing 2018 model, and not the new 2019.

Still a Winner

Time will tell how the factory-backed Camaro will do. European performance cars have done pretty well with automatic transmissions, so it shouldn’t really hurt that much. While on the pricey side, the Camaro will still be far more affordable than an Audi RS or BMW M-series. It is a just a shame that this particular car, one that is aimed at filling in some lofty Commodore shoes, comes a little shackled from the get-go.

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